After a series of bad choices rocked his world, seventeen-year-old Preston charts a new course as far from his ladies’ man ways as he can get. He distances himself from the dating scene and avoids his party-loving friends—the things that once dominated his life. Then he meets Maggie, the new girl in town, the first day of their junior year. She’s beautiful on the inside and out, knows nothing of his past, and he can’t get her out of his mind.

Maggie wants to save sex for marriage, a true white-wedding-dress future. Her first date is a disaster, leaving her skeptical about trusting any guy at her new high school. She wants a boyfriend, sure, but he’d have to be nothing like the jerk who forced her first kiss. Someone more like Preston, who’s been nothing but sweet and helpful, not to mention, easy on the eyes. But he is so out of her league.

As Maggie and Preston draw closer, each seeing the other as a soulmate, they must deal with the temptation to draw physically closer. Ultimately, if Preston wants to be honest with the girl he loves, he will have to confess his past. And once he does that, he doubts she’ll stay.

Pros

  1. Beth is expert in reflecting the feelings of adolescents.
  2. The author is also honest enough not to simplify a complicated situation. This is not a standard teen romance. Being the first of a series, the final answer to their dilemma won’t be revealed until Book Three. In the meantime, each book reads well as a stand-alone.
  3. Love is in the details. Beth has created scenes that invite you right into the lives of Preston and Maggie–like their favorite snack traditions.

Cons

That depends on the reader. If you don’t like three-book series, you won’t want to wait for all the books. Beth is polishing Book 3 now, but Book 2, Because I Know You, is available. And if you don’t care for teen romances and angst, obviously this book is not for you!

Discussion questions

  1. If you were in Preston’s position with a questionable past, when do you think the best time would be to tell the truth to the girl you really cared about?
  2. Were Maggie’s expectations for a boyfriend too high? Why or why not?
  3. Who was Preston’s mentor? Do you think he was helpful?
  4. Maggie’s and Preston’s best friends were also a couple. Were they helpful or harmful in dealing with Maggie’s and Preston’s quandary? Explain.

Conclusion

If you’re raising your teen to wait until marriage for sexual activity, Before I Knew You explores many, if not all, of the questions that teens in our culture face, and it provides Biblical and practical answers.

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